Compartmentalizing Life

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 13, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Our lives are divided in many different areas: family, work, religious, education, recreation, etc. But how do we keep each one separate, and should we keep them separate? Men have a great luxury here. Men’s brains are able to focus on just one thing at a time and completely shut out everything else. Women can’t do that. Women tend to have everything running all at the same time. This is one of the reasons why they are able to know exactly where everything is, while knowing what each kid is doing often before they do it, all while having dinner planned, appointments in order, and never losing track. Both skills complement each other and are necessary. One is not better than the other, just different, and both are needed. See Joe McGee’s talk for more details (and some laughs).

This difference is why men are suited for war. Men are able to completely shut out everything going on and singularly focus on the task at hand. Then when the battle is over, after they take some time to settle down, they can shut out the battle, so their family doesn’t have to face the horrors they had to. But send Mom on vacation while Dad runs the house? We all know how that tends to turn out; not too well.

There are times where we need to compartmentalize life. Our spouses and our children do not need to know the ins and outs of work and how rough things are. They don’t need to fight those battles. But at the same time, there is a need for venting and seeking advise about how things are going on. Many people are so overworked that they have to bring their work home with them, and then the kids who want to spend time with Dad cannot because he has to work. As a teacher, as long as I am on campus, I don’t take my work home unless I have to, and that includes lesson planning.

However, the compartmentalization of things can be done wrongly too, keeping certain areas of life out from other areas when they should be included. Many of you know I teach about worldviews and I address five key questions regarding origins, purpose, identify, destination, and authority. Whether we want to realize it or not, our worldview colors how we see the world in every area of life. Our worldview is reflected in the religion we hold (or lack thereof). Yet many people have made it a prerogative to separate their religious life from all other aspects.

In the documentary “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus,” there were two Jewish scholars whom every year celebrated Passover with their family, as though they were there getting ready to leave Egypt. Yet in their academic life, they denied it actually happened. I wondered, “How can you do that?” Their answer: the celebration is their tradition, but the academic life is the facts. I’m still confused on how they think that makes sense, but I see similar things all the time. Scientists who claim to be Christians go to church, but when they leave church and go to the lab, their faith stays at church. It’s also seen in politics where the person’s “faith” says one thing, but their political views and approaches says something else. They’ve compartmentalized these things, and they are very quick to lash out at those who bring their faith into every area where it should be.

This comes, at least in part, from the false notion of the 1st Amendment, the “separation of church and state,” which by no means, hint, or fashion remotely showcases how it has been interpreted. This 1st Amendment only means that government has to keep out of the church and cannot formally declare one or the other to be “official.” That means Congress itself cannot pass laws banning churches or formally endorsing churches. But it does NOT mean that those in Congress cannot practice their religion in Congress. It’s a one-way door: keep the state out of the church. It does not say get the church out of the state.

As Christians, our faith is meant to cover every area of our life, from family to business, to education, to military and politics, to science, to entertainment, to everything. God doesn’t ask for your Sunday morning only and everything else is up to you. He asks for your everything. That means everything. You cannot be a Christian and only think about God on Sunday during church. Stephen Manley said to be a Christian means to be “obsessed” with Jesus, where He so dominates your life that He is all you think about. This should even be to the point where Jesus determines when you get up, when you go to bed, how you make your business deals, and so on. That is what it means to be a Christian. You are a follower of Christ, and Christ dictates what you do, how you do it, and when. (Please note, I’m not calling for perfection, but if you are saved, you will be heading this direction.)

Paul goes on to say “In everything by prayer…” Not some things. Not most things. In everything by prayer. A. W. Tozer has a very good sermon about this. He explains that we tend to do things by money, prestige, public relation, compromise, committees, and basically anything but prayer, when prayer gets it done faster and far more efficiently. Our faith should be in all areas of our life.

But that said, let’s also keep those areas out of our faith life. Our education should not influence our faith; our faith should influence our education. Our politics should not influence our faith; our faith should influence our politics. Our family should not dictate our faith; our faith should dictate our family. Same with careers, entertainment, everything. While we can keep all our main areas of our lives separate from each other, our faith should never be put into a box and only brought out for talking about our faith. Jesus is the supreme authority over all the universe. All things are under His feet. And we think we can let Him out just for our church services and Bible study groups? He doesn’t share the stage with us, nor does He take partial ownership over our lives. It’s all or none with Christ. We need to learn that. So, while we can separate our business from our family, our politics from our education, we must not and should never separate our faith in Jesus Christ from any area of our lives.

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